AMA SX 2018 RD6: ANDERSON AGAIN

Husqvarna's Jason Anderson took his third win of the season in San Diego, while Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac may well be out for the season...

Tuesday 13th February 2018

AMA SUPERCROSS, ROUND 6 REPORT.
SAN DIEGO, CA. FEBRUARY 10th.

Round six of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship was business as usual for Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – another strong ride, and a win. But in his wake all hell let loose…


450 Main

Even before the gate-drop for the Main there had already been drama as in heat two in which Suzuki’s Justin Bogle, who had just returned from injury, came together with Ben Lamay (TPJ Honda). The horrific crash resulted not only in a red flag, but also in a broken humerus (the long bone in your upper arm) for a devastated Bogle.

Sadly, this seemed to set the theme for the night’s racing and the Suzuki man wouldn’t be the only rider to require medical attention. When the 450 Main began it was once again Cole Seely who got a rocket start and shot to the front, but the HRC Honda rider didn’t have a chance to enjoy the limelight as all eyes turned to a huge pile-up in the first turn. Both Ken Roczen (HRC Honda) and Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) were squeezed and went down, along with Weston Peick (JGR Suzuki) and Josh Grant (Monster Energy Kawasaki). Tomac then pulled off the track, despite he and the bike both appearing undamaged. Roczen continued only to crash again, only harder, breaking his wrist (see RUST’s analysis below).

Meanwhile, Anderson went about proving just how strong and consistent he is this season. In the Petco Park stadium he was able to make it two in a row, and his third victory of the year so far. Unfazed by the drama happening all around him, he is doing a remarkable job of getting his head down and fighting his way to the front time after time. Anderson now has a commanding 28 point lead in the standings.

Red Bull KTM rider Marvin Musquin showed flashes of excellence as he made his way into second place on the night, holding off Blake Baggett (Rocky Mountain ATV KTM) and a fading Seely. Anderson’s nearest challenger, Justin Barcia (Monster Energy Yamaha) had a less successful night, finishing a distant eighth, some 52-seconds behind Anderson.

250 Main

As the small class reaches its half-season West/East split, things are hotting up. Here too, there were plenty of surprises in store. Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki) made the holeshot but Suzuki’s Justin Hill put in a pass early on and proceeding to fight it out with Savatgy’s teammate Adam Cianciarulo for the lead. Series leader Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Yamaha) had a difficult night and was forced to settle for seventh following a frustrating crash, and was later docked a further position for cutting the track as he rejoined. An error from Cianciarulo late in the race meant a determined Hill could bag the win, speaking on the podium he stated: “Now the haters can shut up!” An ever-improving Chase Sexton (Geico Honda) took third. Plessinger takes a slim five-point lead into the month long West season break.

RUSTs ANALYSIS:

It’s fair to say Eli Tomac has had an extremely mixed start to this year’s season: two DNFs and one DNS, but two dominant wins. He had vowed to enter San Diego’s main event with the mindset of “just go out and win”, but this seemed to go out of the window as soon as he hit the ground. Fans watched as all the fight seemed to drain out of Tomac and he retired on the spot. Shortly after the race finished, rumours were already suggesting Tomac may scrap this year’s supercross season with a view to concentrating on dominance in the motocross championship. For a rider who previously fought hard to stay in title contention, these certainly are dark times for Tomac. 


Fellow first corner crasher, Ken Roczen, had rejoined the race despite his obvious frustration at the pile-up. However, things then got very serious for the young German. San Diego’s track consisted of several sweeping 180° corners – perfect for attacking passes or pushing your rivals wide. Roczen had been embroiled in a battle with Cooper Webb, and when the Yamaha rider went high in one such sweeping turn, he saw his opportunity. Attempting to dive up the inside of Webb, Roczen lost control of his HRC Honda and collided with Webb. As his body momentarily collided with Webb’s bike his right arm was sucked between the Yamaha’s rear wheel and swing arm. For a few heart-stopping moments it remained stuck, and when he eventually pulled his arm free it had sustained a badly bruised and cut elbow and, more significantly, a broken hand.

This latest injury could not have come at a worse time for the German, after almost losing his left arm due to gruesome injuries suffered last year, he appeared to have managed an impressive return to racing in 2018. Yet, just as things were getting back on track for Roczen, his right arm, his ‘good arm’ if you will, gets mangled. You couldn’t make it up. The coming days and weeks will reveal the extent of the physical and psychological damage, but it will certainly take a monumental amount of mental strength for Ken Roczen to put these latest demons to bed.

In short, two of the sport’s biggest names have already lost their chance of fighting for the title – Roczen is 39 points down and highly likely to miss next weekend’s main. Tomac is a miserable 77 points down. With Barcia and Seely not exactly firing, this is looking to be Anderson’s championship to lose.

2018 AMA SUPERCROSS

450SX Championship Standings.

1. Jason Anderson Husqvarna       141
2. Justin Barcia Yamaha               113
3. Cole Seely Honda                     106
4. Ken Roczen Honda                   102
5. Blake Baggett KTM                    99
6. Justin Brayton Honda                 99
7. Weston Peick Suzuki                   98
8. Marvin Musquin KTM                   96
9. Joshua Grant Kawasaki               83
10. Broc Tickle KTM                         82

250SX Western Region Championship Standings.

1. Aaron Plessinger Yamaha       133
2. Joey Savatgy Kawasaki           129
3. Shane McElrath KTM               117
4. Adam Cianciarulo Kawasaki   116
5. Chase Sexton Honda             107
6. Christian Craig Honda            106
7. Justin Hill Suzuki                     105
8. Kyle Chisholm Yamaha           84
9. Mitchell Harrison Husqvarna   72

10. Hayden Mellross Yamaha     67

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